Pondering of Biblical Proportions

I mentioned last week Faith on Fire did a gig at St. Leo's church. During the talk by the really loud and energenic speaker, I got a chance to look at some of the materials placed on tables by the church. Grant you, I was not surprised by any of it, since it was the kind of things you would expect to find in a Catholic church. There was a table devoted to the anti-abortion movement. I did get a perverse amusement out of the plastic fetuses in little cups. Not sure of the point, but I thought it was a shame to throw away fetuses like that.

There was a bulletin board devoted to the Army with what I assume were pictures of parishoners in the Army in Iraq. A bumper sticker did make me shake my head a little. It said "Veterans for Bush". I'm not sure who these guys are, but I'd bet you can visit them all in the VA psyche ward.

One of the other tables had a lot of "relationship" literature. Stuff on celibacy, marriage, divorce, etc. Two things caught my eye. The first was for a group that call themselves the e5men. The get their name from Ephesians chapter 5, one of the famous "wives be submissive to your husbands, husbands love your wives" chapters of the Epistles. Now, normally I get a kick out of this passage since I really don't believe it for a second. I also don't think it really jibes with other of Paul's writings. Some biblical scholars believe this passage was actually inserted later. Be that as it may, my personal belief is in marriage as a partnership, but I digress.

What I really found amusing about these guys is their mission. It seems that the entire point of this group is for Christian men to fast once a month for one day, preferable the first Wednesday of the month, on bread and water alone, "for your bride for her spiritual growth and healing". I stood there wondering, exactly what kind of healing does my Wife need and how would fasting provide it? I mean, I'm all for praying for the spiritual growth of my wife, and I'm ok with fasting, but I believe fasting is meant to bring an individual closer to God. I just found the entire concept amusing. Not to mention the fact that I wasn't sure what the hell this had to do with the passage. They seem to be centering on the "love your wife as Christ loved the church" kind of thing. I got more of the impression it was to pray that your wife would realize she's supposed to be subservient to you. Overall, I thought it was rather silly.

What made me shake my head more was the flyer on natural family planning. Not that I've got anything against it, it works really well for some people. It was a little piece of propaganda that was buried in it. It was talking about all the reasons natural family planning was better than "unnatural birth control". It mentioned that since the introduction of "unnatural birth control" and specifically since it's wide availability in the 60s, the divorce rate had skyrocketed. It implied, but did not come out and say, that use of artificial birth control was the cause of the high divorce rate.

So let me get this straight: are they saying that if you have a large family, you won't get divorced? The parents will take the attitude that since there are too many kids for one person to raise, they'll stay together "for the kids" even though they hate each other?

Or are they saying that by using "unnatural birth control" couples have less emotional attachment to each other and love each other less? Or that by not having children, couples will be less happy and more likely to split up?

I must admit, the wife and I have used "unnatural birth control". At the risk of TMI, the Wife has a very irregular menstrual cycle (among other things). Her GYN recommended birth control to make her "regular" as well as control her "symptoms". As a couple, we've decided that two children is a perfect size family. If we tried "natural family planning", the result would either be more children, which would probably stress us out to the brink of divorce, or result in no sex, which would probably have the same effect. So how is "unnatural birth control" contributing to the likelihood of us getting divorced? We're pretty happy as a couple right now. I have no plans to trade her in on a new model, and as far as I know, she's not ready to trade me in either.

I thought it was a pretty low thing to do to associate two things that really are unrelated. It would be like associating the increased use of contraception with an increase in the murder rate. Or has someone done that already?


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